nicollet caged

They say they can tell you weren’t born in Minneapolis by the way you can’t get Nicollet out your mouth right. Gotta swallow that middle syllable whole (read: there isn’t one) while giving a little headjerk nod of knowing, like acknowledging a peripheral you don’t actually want to talk to or pretending you’re a horse.

I avoid saying Nicollet altogether.



  • Bree

    January 23, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Who says that!

    (Your stupid WordPress told me my three-word comment was too short. WTF.)

  • megh

    January 23, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Gabe, for one. Some library folk brought it up recently to me, too. I’ve heard it a lot over the years.

  • Gabe

    January 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    It is a fct, Bree. Although I don’t know about the headshake – the real deal is where you put the emphasis.

    correct = NICKo-let

    incorrect = nick-o-LET

    Foreigners ALL emphasize the last syllable.

  • megh

    January 24, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I may have embellished the headshake as a matter of literary license. And horses.

    Though I do challenge the statement, “Foreigners all emphasize the last syllable.” Perhaps all emphasizers of the last syllable are foreigners”?

  • megh

    January 25, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Confession: Sometimes I say nick-o-LAY in my head.

  • Gabe

    January 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Here’s one I just discovered last night – how do you pronounce “crayon”?

    It is still hypothetical, but it seems that Minnesotans tend to say “cran” instead of “cray-on.”

    One that I cannot defend is how I/we say “bag.” I don’t know why it’s “baeg.”

    I also call “coo-pons” “que-pons” and don’t even give a fuck that it’s ridiculous.

  • Gabe

    January 27, 2010 at 11:23 am

    hmmm, that one might not be a MN thing:

  • Gabe

    January 27, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Pronunciation note:
    Coupon, related to cope and coup, is of French origin. It has developed an American pronunciation variant /ˈkyupɒn/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kyoo-pon] Show IPA with an unhistorical y-sound not justified by the spelling. This pronunciation is used by educated speakers and is well-established as perfectly standard, although it is sometimes criticized. Its development may have been encouraged by analogy with words like curious, cupid, and cute, where c is followed by a “long u” and the /y/[y] is mandatory.

  • megh

    January 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    CRANS! My mom calls them “colors,” and a yearbook is an “annual.” Also, careful you don’t spill your goulash on the davenport.

    I’ve reverted back to saying Zee aloud but still say Zed in my head. Thanks a lot, Canada. (I also queue at the washroom and now say PROcess, not PRAHcess, and SOHrry instead of SAWrry.)

  • Bree

    January 28, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    “SOHrry”? You’re going to have to say that for me one of these days, because I can’t even work it out in a non-retarded fashion.

    Here’s that dialect survey I was talking about:

    I know we were supposed to ask Colin something about middle syllables, but I can’t remember what.

  • megh

    January 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I believe it was “syllable dwarfing.”

  • Gabe

    February 4, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Hmm, I guess some call them “Crowns” and “Crens”!

  • Colin

    February 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    hmmm…never heard of “syllable dwarfing”….you could call it whatever the hell you want. I might call it “partial anticipatory assimilation” though I think that’s just applied to consonants. It’s a simple ellision of the glide /j/. No biggie, really. Probably a pretty predictable sound change any which way. The big thing right now would be what identity you’re trying to effect when you pronounce it one way or another. Like, if you want to stick it to your chauvinist boss all professional-like, you might say “I think cray-ons would be a poor choice”, but if you’re wearing a short skirt and want mr hotpants over there, you might say “nice cran, tiger…let’s freak”.

  • megh

    February 6, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Colin, the voice of reason. Thanks for the insight! “Preston Paxton III, you made this masterpiece with cray-ons? Billy Bob, stop eating your crans.”

  • Bree

    February 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I feel like that is a spelling bee sentence.

  • Bree

    February 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Two sentences, really. If some kid didn’t know what a damned crayon was.

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